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TMCNet:  The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, Amy Nichol Smith column

[November 16, 2012]

The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, Amy Nichol Smith column

Nov 16, 2012 (The Monitor - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- When trying to decide where to eat, my friends will mull over what they're in the mood for: hamburgers, steaks, sandwich, pasta, tacos, etc. Truth be told: I'm always up for Mexican food (or creme brulee -- yes, I could make a meal of a dessert).

My only experience with Taco Grill and Bar was when I included it in Festiva's new restaurant guide. I sat at the bar, had a drink and enjoyed the lovely decor and large windows which give a clear view of Downtown McAllen's streets.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the wonderful food, atmosphere and even prices when I had lunch at Taco Grill recently.

David (my almost-fiance) and Adam (BFF) joined me for lunch. A basket of chips and a trio of salsas were quickly delivered to our table. The salsa verde was just spicy enough, the salsa de arbol was smoky and savory and the pico de gallo was fresh. The chips were seasoned with salt, pepper and, I think, dehydrated lemon -- they were so good.

Cups of charro beans came with David and Adam's meals. The small bowls were full of plump pinto beans, soft onions and lots of flavor. My cup of caldo de pollo was packed with big chunks of slow-cooked vegetables and chicken. Our server brought us a plate of freshly chopped onions and cilantro so we could doctor our food how we liked.

Adam went with a parrillada with fajita, chicken and sausage. Each bite I had of the different meats was tender and yummy. The bell peppers were still slightly crisp. Sometimes Adam will run out of tortillas before he finishes his meal, which totally happened at Taco Grill. Our server didn't even charge for another helping of piping hot homemade tortillas. The only thing Adam said he wished had been served with his meal was refried beans.

My chicken flautas were topped with salsa verde, sour cream, shredded lettuce and tomato slices. Fluffy rice was served on the side. I would absolutely come back again for these rolled tacos.

David's plate of fish tacos would also bring me back to Taco Grill and Bar. Tiny corn tortillas are stuffed with lots of grilled white fish, topped with a spicy and creamy orange salsa and slices of avocado.

Not only did everything taste fresh and homemade, lunch is incredibly affordable at Taco Grill and Bar -- a lunch special and a drink cost less than $10.

(Taco Bar and Grill, 100 S. Broadway Street, McAllen; (956) 682-6602) ___ (c)2012 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) Visit The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) at www.themonitor.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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